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30th Jun 2022

What Con O’Callaghan asked Bernard Brogan before 2019 final sums up why he is one of the best

Lee Costello

“It shows you the humility of the man to ask something like that.”

Con O’Callaghan’s absence and presence has been a direct correlation to Dublin’s form this season.

In the simplest of terms, whenever the forward has played, they have looked to be at their unstoppable best, but when he hasn’t been available, they’ve struggled.

The Cuala clubman missed the entirety of the league campaign, a campaign that seen the unthinkable happen, as Dublin were relegated to Division Two.

Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

However, his return to the Leinster championship seen the immediate return of his goals, link up play, and overall devastating power in front of the posts.

The capital strolled through their provincial championship like it was a cake walk, and that man was the focal point of everything.

Last weekend, in the All-Ireland quarter finals against Cork, O’Callaghan was out with injury and his absence was felt immediately.

Although the Dub’s got their win and looked comfortable by the end of it, they didn’t look as sharp, especially in the first half.

Despite the obvious things like his strength, goal prowess, and speed, the attributes which O’Callaghan gives to this squad goes way beyond that.

His mentality is arguably his biggest strength, and what he asked Bernard Brogan before the 2019 All-Ireland final against Kerry just sums up perfectly.

Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

The bomber had just detonated against Mayo in the quarter finals, a game where the forward completely dismantled the Connacht side, and got the better of Lee Keegan, one of the very best in the game.

In his book The Hill,  Bernard Brogan, who wasn’t even making the match day panel at the time, revealed what the then youngster asked him before the ’19 Kerry final.

“‘Have you any advice for me going into the final? You’ve been dominant in big games like this before. Is there anything I should know?’

“It shows you the humility of the man to ask something like that, having just burned Lee Keegan, and has already won two All-Irelands with us, and another two in hurling with his club: Con knows his way around Croke Park.

“But he’s just so open to getting better. I was looking at him earlier this year in the dressing room before one of our league games, sitting there with his notebook, jotting something down, then reading over it again for about 10 minutes.

“I was thinking, ‘what’s he after writing there? I wasn’t doing that when I was 23.'”

That sort of mindset, when you’re never content with what you’ve already achieved, and always striving for more – it can be invaluable to a team.


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